Divorce comes from the uncertainty over what the future will bring, especially about money. It’s not uncommon for a lower-earning spouse to receive inadequate financial support in the early phases of separation.
Alimony is designed to keep the lower-earning spouse at a standard of living similar to when they were married.
In California, you can get temporary alimony at the beginning of the divorce process without having to wait for the final judgment. There are also other options for filing for spousal support without the need to file a divorce complaint.
Temporary alimony or spousal support is an order for support that comes during a divorce, legal separation or even an annulment case after one party has filed such a request with the court. A hearing is set after a motion document called a “Request for Order” is filed with the family court. For these financial motions, it is a requirement that each party file an Income and Expense Declaration to show their respective financial status.
The spouse seeking the temporary alimony requests a hearing. At that hearing, a judge will calculate what alimony award, if any, should be given. Spousal support is referred to as either temporary alimony or permanent alimony. Temporary alimony is support paid by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse during the divorce process. Permanent alimony is support paid after the conclusion of the divorce.
WHAT IS TEMPORARY SPOUSAL SUPPORT FOR?
Courts award temporary spousal support during divorce to help allocate family income. If one spouse earns and hoards all the money, that’s not fair – and the non-earning spouse is entitled to some of that family income while the divorce is pending. In many cases, the courts award enough money to allow the supported spouse to live in the same manner to which he or she was accustomed during the marriage. The money can go toward rent, bills and other expenses.
Temporary spousal support is not the same as child support. Receiving or paying spousal support doesn’t change whether you’ll receive or pay child support.
HOW IS TEMPORARY SPOUSAL SUPPORT CALCULATED?
Temporary alimony and permanent alimony are calculated in different ways. A judge will typically use an established formula to calculate a temporary alimony order. These formulas vary by county.
The court will also look at the periods of unemployment that the supported spouse incurred while attending to domestic duties.
Usually, temporary spousal support hinges on the asking spouse’s financial need and the paying spouse’s ability to pay. The judge in your case will look at many other factors when determining permanent spousal support, though, including:
- Both spouses’ debts
- Both spouses’ assets (including separate property)
- Both spouses’ financial needs according to the marital standard of living they established
- How extensively the supported spouse contributed to the paying spouse’s education, training, career or licensure in his or her field
- How extensively the supported spouse’s earning capacity is lowered because he or she was unemployed during the marriage
- How long it would take for the supported spouse to acquire the skills, education or training necessary to get a job, as well as how much it would cost
- The age and health of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- The supported spouse’s ability to work outside the home without derailing his or her dependent children’s lives
- The supported spouse’s marketable skills, and whether he or she is likely to be able to get a job
DO YOU NEED TO TALK TO AN ATTORNEY ABOUT TEMPORARY SPOUSAL SUPPORT?
Contact our law firm today at 562-439-9001 if you or someone you know needs the help of an experienced family law attorney. We will be here for you when you call. Schedule a free consultation!
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